I chuckled to myself as I scrolled through Facebook the other day. I saw a few posts that said something along the lines of, “Just a reminder, Thanksgiving comes before Christmas.”
We can move so quickly through the year, always focusing on what comes next when it is important to stop every once in a while to smell the roses. Just a few months back, November seemed so far away. Now that it’s here, it feels like it came in as a sprint.
The Calendar Isn’t Lying!
It really is November. My phone says so. I can’t believe it! I think I say that every year when I realize the holidays are coming up quickly. You walk into a store, and if you blink the shelves become filled with the next holiday decor. If you take too long to make any decisions, that cute little pumpkin decoration in your hand will turn into a shiny Christmas ornament.
When November hits, I immediately begin to think that I had better get my Christmas gift lists organized so I have plenty of time to buy gifts and send them on time. What I should be thinking about is that November is the month of thanks and when we celebrate Thanksgiving. If we forget all year to say thank you, be thankful, and be kind, November is the month to redeem yourself and do it.
So, before we get into the season of gift-giving, I think it’s important that we slow down a bit, and take some time to be thankful and kind. It’s a great time of the year to teach our little ones the words “thankful” and “kindness,” what they mean, and show what those words look like when we put them into action.
Practicing Thankfulness and Gratefulness
Now, while it is a great teaching time for our children, it is also a great time to practice those words as adults. We go through life with all of our busyness, and sometimes we forget to take a moment to let others know we are thankful. Or we forget to show a little bit of kindness and think about what we are thankful for in life. It’s a time for reflecting. Ideally, we should be thinking about it throughout the year, but life gets busy, and we forget or overlook the simple things that could mean a lot to someone else. It could also mean a lot to ourselves.
20 Thankful Ideas
I decided to list 20 thankful ideas that I hope to do this month. Of course, I may not do them all, but at least there are options. I like having options, and I hope to include the kids as well.
- Send a thank-you note to someone in the mail. Everyone loves a good piece of snail mail.
- Tell someone you’ve never told before that you are thankful for them and why.
- Make a thankful tree
- Make a thankful jar- Each day, add to the jar what you are thankful for. At the end of the month or on Thanksgiving read them.
- Donate to those less fortunate
- Offer to help a friend or someone that could use an extra hand
- Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Letting them know that they were on your mind will brighten up their day.
- Pay it forward
- Send a thank-you note to a member of the community.
- Decorate your window or door with messages of thanks, thanking those that deliver in your neighborhood or work.
- Write a song or poem and perform it for someone you’re thankful for.
- Leave a hidden note for a family member to find- think lunch box notes.
- Make a meal for a friend or family that seems like they need a break.
- Offer to pay the whole dinner bill, coffee order, etc. instead of splitting the cost (if it won’t break your bank).
- Say yes to something you usually say no to.
- Tip more than normal.
- Add a surprise bonus to your regular service providers (house cleaners, gardeners, hairdressers, etc.).
- Run an errand for a friend.
- Babysit or senior sit for someone who needs time to themselves.
- Send flowers
We don’t have to keep being thankful to November. We can keep it going all year round.
I Know, Planning For Upcoming Holidays Is Still Wise
While you’re busy being grateful and thankful, it doesn’t hurt to start planning for the holidays. I pretty much can’t do anything without making a plan, even if they do get broken. I personally start to plan early so I’m not eating Ramen Noodles for the last few weeks of the year after all of the holiday shopping. Gifts and cards, food and gatherings all add up, so it is best to go in with a plan. I also don’t want to forget anyone, and I don’t want to go broke either.
I created a few simple printables to help you plan out the next few months of gift-giving, card-sending, and planning for your small family gatherings (I say small because I’m writing this during the Coronavirus Pandemic).
In this printable bundle, you will find a gift tracker, Christmas card tracker, a gratitude tracker, and a holiday dinner planner. I hope that these downloadable sheets will take away some of the stress by helping you organize all the holiday stuff. In the meantime, be thankful, enjoy the holiday season, and don’t forget to take some time for yourself.